You won’t hear a SDA describe their beliefs in this way, yet every statement here is a true representation of their beliefs. This is not a flattering picture of Adventism, but it isn’t written vindictively. It is written to shine a spotlight on the teachings of Adventism that linger below the surface, invisible to those who have never had a close association with Adventism and routinely ignored by many SDAs themselves.
It’s hard to even know where to start the story, so perhaps presenting it as a history of the world provides the best avenue for understanding. SDAs call this the Great Controversy and believe that it is a wonderful understanding of God given especially to their prophet. Yet SDAs don’t openly share this with other Christians, nor do they include most of this teaching in their evangelism (sheep stealing) seminars. After I converted to Adventism, I was shocked as I came across one strange detail after another about SDA teachings from the writings of Ellen White (pictured below) and SDA church theologians.
When the heavens were created Satan and Jesus were leaders of the angels. At some point in time after the creation, God announced to the angels that Jesus either had, or perhaps was being given, authority over all of the angels. This made Satan jealous as Satan believed that he should have this authority. Satan rebelled against God and accused God of being unfair. Satan also accused God of having a law that could not be kept. Some angels agreed with Satan and joined this rebellion. The remaining angels and the inhabitants of the universe have adopted a wait and see policy, expecting that God will eventually prove Satan wrong. However, if God doesn’t prove Satan wrong, eventually the entire universe will rebel against God.
Man was created and Satan brought about the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God the Father had not planned for this. It seems that it caught Him by surprise. However, Jesus developed a plan that could redeem man. Jesus took this plan to the Father, but the Father rejected the plan. Jesus had to return and plead with the Father to accept His plan for salvation. Eventually the Father relented and accepted Jesus’ plan.
The plan called for Jesus to die in order to save man. Since the time of Jesus’ death, His blood is applied in the heavenly sanctuary to cover every sin that is confessed by believers. However, if a sin is not confessed it will not be covered. And even with the confession of sin and the sacrifice of Christ, the believer is “not entirely released from the condemnation of the Law” (P&P 355)
This brings us to the SDA doctrines of the Sanctuary and the Investigative Judgment (an SDA term). SDAism teaches that when Christ’s blood is applied to the altar in the heavenly sanctuary that this does not atone for the sin, it “only provided a means by which the sin was trasferred to the sanctuary” (P&P 355). Therefore the heavenly sanctuary is polluted with sin and must be cleansed. This has its own bizarre conclusion; Christ’s blood is polluting the heavenly sanctuary! However, the doctrine surrounding the cleansing of this sanctuary reveals even more about the uncertain nature of salvation within Adventist doctrine. An investigation needs to take place regarding those who have professed belief in God and confessed their sins. This “Investigative Judgment” will, among other things, determine who is “truly pentinent” (P&P 357-358). It is only those whose lives demonstrate that they are truly pentinent that will have atonement for their confessed sins. The forgiveness, of covering, of sin is therefore both probationary and conditional in SDA theology; the person has to prove in the remainder of their lives that they deserve to have their sin forgiven. If they do not live a life worthy of having their sin forgiven, the previously confessed and covered sin will be placed back on the believer and they will pay the price for their own sin in the lake of fire where they will be punished and ultimately destroyed.
The problem of sin remains, because the confessed sins of true believers still remain in the heavenly sanctuary and it must be cleansed of sin. Neither Jesus’ death nor His blood cleanse the Heavenly sanctuary. The sanctuary is cleansed by placing the sins of the believers on Satan who is ultimately the one punished for those sins. But only the sins of the truly pentinent believers are placed on Satan (EW 178).
SDAs believe that the Roman Catholic church is the whore Babylon and all of the remaining Protestant churches are daughters of the whore. SDAs believe that they have been given the special assignment by God to call His people out of every other church and into the only true church, their own. The call this the Three Angel’s Message. They even place this symbol on their letterhead. This special assignment supersedes even the Great Commission, so the SDA church believes that their primary mission is the steal the sheep from Christian Churches.
SDAs believe that the final test that will determine the “real” followers of Christ is whether people will observe the 7th day Sabbath. They believe that a time is coming very soon when all of the members of other churches will band together to hunt down and kill SDAs. Every other church is an enemy of God and will be a persecutor of SDA church members.
Before Jesus can return, His people, or at least some of them, must become perfect. If God’s people can not prove that God’s Law can be kept, then Satan’s charge against God is proven true. Rebellion will spread through the whole universe, God will be unseated as the ruler and Satan will take over.
Seventh-day Adventism is not what it appears to be. They don’t believe they are like other Protestant denominations, and they are not. They have a vastly different view of God and His kingdom. They teach a means of salvation that is not found in any other churches, nor within the pages of Scripture alone. But the biggest question I am left with is, “Why are these SDA teachings kept hidden in the closet?”
Latest posts by Rick Barker (see all)
- IS JESUS OUR EXAMPLE FOR THE PURPOSE OF SALVATION? - March 22, 2018
- HOW WE APPROACH DIFFICULT PASSAGES IN SCRIPTURE - February 9, 2018
- ADVENTISM’S MARRIAGE AND FAMILY - January 10, 2018